Black girls in Philadelphia public schools say they’re routinely subjected to racism from fellow students, teachers, and school administrators, and it colors every aspect of their school experience.

That was one of several “overarching” themes found in five student focus groups hosted by the Education Law Center and highlighted in “We Need Supportive Spaces That Celebrate Us: Black Girls Speak Out About Public Schools,” a report from the nonprofit advocacy group released Thursday. Black girls bear the brunt of systemic inequities in school and throughout society, yet they are under-represented in research and investment aimed at students of color, the center said.

How to fix a problem that’s so pervasive? Having more Black teachers and staffers in schools would make a difference, the group’s attorneys said, based on student input in the focus groups. The report also focused on the importance of using a curriculum that makes Black students feel comfortable expressing their views, as well as criticisms of certain dress codes in schools and the role of police in schools.

“We cannot create equitable education spaces without intentionally considering the needs of Black girls and addressing the interlocking systemic barriers to accessing a high-quality education,” the report said.

For its report, the Education Law Center lawyers talked to some 20 Black girls who attended public middle and high schools, most of them in the Philadelphia area. Some attended neighborhood schools, some went to charter schools, and some were in educational programs at juvenile justice facilities. In every setting, students reported anti-Black racism in practice and in policy.

The students described being subjected to racial slurs, being singled out for discipline because of their race and gender, and a lack of access to appropriate support and resources. The findings align with research showing Black girls are singled out or punished more often and more harshly than their peers for similar behaviors.

Read the full article about racism and sexism in Philadelphia schools by Nora Macaluso at Chalkbeat.